When practicing yoga, you will be able to learn many different poses. In the physical yoga practice, there are more than 300 positions you can learn, however, it is not that easy. If you are new to yoga, there are basic poses that are important for you to learn so that you’ll be comfortable in a class or while practicing on your own at home.
It is also great to have a little knowledge about yoga poses before you attend your first class because first yoga classes may seem quite daunting. You may think that you are not flexible enough or you don’t have enough balance. If you want to easily improve on yoga, then we are here to help you. Today, we are going to give you the basic yoga beginner poses that you need to learn.
1. Mountain Pose
This probably is the easiest yoga pose for beginners. It looks like simply standing up straight however, this pose is much more than that. This yoga pose is usually performed at the beginning of a practice or as a part of a Sun Salutation. It is the base for all standing poses and it will give you a sense of how to ground into your feet and feel the earth below you. This pose will give you a chance to start with slow, conscious, in and out breathing which is a pivotal part of yoga.
To do this pose, you start by standing with your feet together. Then press down through all ten toes as you spread them open. Engage your quadriceps to lift your kneecaps and lift up through your inner thighs. As you lift your chest, draw your abdominals in and up and press the tops of the shoulders down.
Feel your shoulder blades coming towards each other, then open your chest. Keep your palms facing inwards towards your body. Think of a string drawing the crown of the head up to the ceiling then breathe deeply into the torso. Hold the position for 5 to 8 breaths.
2. Downward Facing Dog
This yoga pose is used in most yoga practices and classes. It can stretch and strengthen the whole body. It is also the building block of many other yoga poses, combinations, and flows. It can also be used as a transition between more difficult and strenuous movements.
To do this pose, come to all fours with your wrists under your shoulders and knees under your hips. Tuck under your toes and then lift your hips up off the floor, drawing them up at back towards your heels.
If your hamstrings are tight, keep your knees slightly bent, otherwise, keep your legs straight while keeping your hips back. If you need more length, you can walk your hands forward. Press through your palms firmly and rotate the inner elbows towards each other. Hollow out your abdomen and keep engaging your legs to keep your torso moving back towards the thighs. Hold this position for 5 to 8 breaths before dropping back to hands and knees to rest.
3. Cat and Dog Tilt
This yoga pose involves movement instead of just holding a position. It includes arching and rounding the back slowly which can help protect the spine from back pain.
To do this, first, sit on your heels. Then, on an inhalation, come to your hands and knees. Put your hands underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. After that, exhale and move your hips into cat tilt, rounding through your spine. Then, inhale and arch your spine by bringing your hips into dog tilt.
Repeat the pose several times. As you move back and forth, sense your breath initiating the movement and the movement originating from your pelvis. Then, bring your spine into a neutral position. After that, bring your buttocks back to your heels and come to sitting upright.
This yoga pose will teach you how to balance on your hands while using your entire body as a support. This pose is a great way to strengthen the abdominals. This will also teach you to use the breath to help you stay in a challenging pose.
To do the plank yoga pose, from all fours, tuck under your toes and lift your legs up off the mat. Then, slide your heels back enough until you feel that you are one straight line of energy from your head to your feet. After that, engage your lower abdominals, draw your shoulders down and away from the ears, pull your ribs together and breathe deeply for 8 to 10 breaths.
5. Warrior 1
Warrior poses are important when it comes to building strength and stamina in yoga practice. This pose can give you confidence and as well as stretch your hips and thighs while building strength in the entire lower body and core. Warrior 1 is a great pose for stretching open the front body while strengthening the legs, buttocks, hips, upper body, and core. It is also a gentle backbend.
To do this pose, take a giant step back with your left foot coming towards a lunge. After that, turn your left heel down and angle your left toes forward 75 degrees. Then, lift your chest and press your palms up overhead. Take a step forward and repeat this on the opposite leg.
6. Warrior 2
This is another warrior yoga pose and it is an external hip opener. It opens up the inner thighs and groin. This pose is a good starting point for many side postures including triangle, extended angle, and half-moon balance.
To do this pose, stand with your feet one leg’s-length apart. Then, turn your right toes out 90 degrees and left toes in 45 degrees. After that, bend your right knee until it is directly over your right ankle while keeping the torso even between the hips. Then, stretch your arms out to your sides and look over your right hand. Hold this position for 8 to 10 breaths before straightening the right leg and turning your feet to the other side to repeat on the left side.
This pose is a wonderful standing posture to stretch the sides of your waist, open up the lungs, strengthen the legs, and tone the entire body.
To do the triangle yoga pose, begin by standing with your feet one leg’s-length apart. Then, open and stretch your arms to the sides at shoulder height. After that, turn your right foot out 90 degrees and your left toes in 45 degrees.
As you hinge to the side over your right leg, engage your quadriceps and abdominals. Then, place your right hand down on your ankle or knee, and lift your left arm up to the ceiling. Look over your top hand and hold the position for 5 to 8 breaths. After that, lift up to stand and repeat it on the opposite side.
This yoga pose is a great standing balance for beginners to work on. This will help you gain focus and clarity, as well as teach you to breathe while standing and keeping your body balanced on one foot.
To do this pose, begin with your feet together and place your right foot on your inner left upper thigh. Then, place your hands in prayer and find a spot in front of your that you can hold in a steady gaze. Hold this position for 8 to 10 breaths and then switch sides. While doing this pose, make sure that you are not leaning into the standing leg and keep your abdominals engaged and your shoulders relaxed.
9. Seated Forward Bend
It is also essential to incorporate a forward bend in yoga practice to stretch the lower and upper back and sides. This yoga pose is the perfect fold for everyone to start to open up the body and learn to breathe through uncomfortable positions.
To do this pose, begin seated with your legs together, feet flexed firmly and not turning in our out, and your hands by your hips. Then, lift your chest and start to pivot forward from your waist. While doing this, engage your lower abdominals and imagine your belly button moving towards the top of your thighs. When you hit your maximum, stop and breathe for 8 to 10 breaths. You need to make sure that your shoulders, neck, and head are all released.
10. Child’s Pose
This one is a good resting pose not just for beginners but for all levels as well. It is great to learn this pose when you are fatigued in Down Dog. It is also awesome to do this before bed at night to work out the kinks or simply anytime you need a mental break from stress or you need some tension relief.
To do this yoga pose, begin on all fours then bring your knees and feet together as you sit your butt back to your heels. After that, stretch your arms forward then lower your forehead to the floor and let your whole body release. You can hold the child’s pose for as long as you wish.
These are some of the basic yoga beginner poses that are essential to learn for you to easily improve on yoga. If you want to learn more about yoga, you can check out our Beginner’s Guide to Yoga for more information.